University of Portsmouth

University of Portsmouth

International Development Studies (Distance Learning)

Current and aspiring workers in international development can benefit from this postgraduate course that combines the benefits of theoretical study with professional practice.

Entry requirements

A good Honours degree in a relevant subject, or equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Course modules

You will study the following core units:

1)Theory & Practice of Development. Explore the history, theory and practice of international development studies, through topics from colonialism to globalisation. You will be introduced to the tools, such as social enterprise, that are used in development practice. Assessment includes a social enterprise project alongside a traditional essay.
2)Applied Research Methods for Development. Learn the strategies and methods of collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data in the social sciences. You will learn to use SPSS for data manipulation, quantitative data analysis and interpretation, using a range of data sets relevant to international development studies.
3)Dissertation. Demonstrate your achievement on the course as a whole, through the production of a 15,000-word research project on a topic of your choice, informed by the optional units you have selected, under the advice and guidance of a personal supervisor.
You will also select two optional units from the following:

International and Comparative Criminal Justice,
Gender for Development Cooperation,
Contemporary Security in International Relations,
Education and Development,
Health and Development,
Economics of Development.

Assessment methods

Teaching and Assessment:

This course will be offered entirely through distance learning methods. All course materials and readings, lecture notes, as well as additional links to useful organisational sites, social media hubs and further resources, will be posted and regularly updated in our virtual learning environment. Human contact will be an important part of the programme too, with regular 'webinars', discussion forums, one-on-one tutorials with lecturers, email correspondence and skype meetings where necessary.

How are you assessed?

The assessment methods used on this programme are varied and test all the skills developed in the different modules at different stages of the learning process. These include essays, leading and participating in discussion forums and blogs, portfolios, policy briefs and research projects, allowing for a balance between formative and summative assessment.


Qualification Study mode Start month Fee Course duration
MSc Distance learning September 2016 - 3 years
MSc Distance learning January 2017 - 3 years

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Main Site Portsmouth PO1 2UP South East

Key information

Admissions Team - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Telephone number: 
023 9284 8299